Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Culture Vulture

Certain music, specific groups and some periods of an artist seem almost too colored by time, often imbuing the stuff with added personal weight, and thus making it stand higher and stronger in yer own personal listings. At the same time, the specific style, the politics, the sound, can be dragged down by too close identification with a dated genre, or a genre that wound up bloated or dissipated or (always the worse) watered down. Will anybuddy ever do the pyschobilly thang better, livelier, and funnier than the Cramps? Why do Grin and the first coupla Nils Lorgren offerings or the first 4 Alice Cooper lps stand up while Bad Company (who had one of the coolest geetar guys evah-Mick Ralphs), or the James Gang, or Joe Jackson, or John Entwhistle's solo stuff all sound too obvious, too stupid, or too inconsequential? Why do solid songwriters (and rockers) like John Hiatt or Graham Parker seem to have hit a peak then nothing, while a guy like Lou Reed still makes a great record every coupla efforts? Did Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, and Jerry Lee all have one fertile period inflamed by commerce (i.e. they sold what they were writing) and then all turn into classic, one-of-a-kind performers who purty much never wrote a decent three minutes again? Why does the sometime pre-mature, possibly infantile, often crude, obviously borrowed, early sounds of people like The Kinks, The Stooges, The Ramones, The Stones, The Velvets sound so continually rich, fresh, and deep they they've somehow never fallen of most of our personal lists and so many other have? By the way-always loved, still adore, it gives me the chills, the strange Super session "Season of the Witch" even though I always though (and still do) that stephen Stills is a fat walrus bastard and the Son of Satan?

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